Black History Month: It’s Not Just for Black People Anymore

Hello Meltingpot Readers,

In honor of Black History Month, I’m reposting one of my favorite ‘articles’ from my original blog. I’ve added some minor updates in italics. I hope you enjoy!
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February is a busy month in my home. My birthday is in February, so is el esposo‘s. So is my dad’s, which coincidentally is the same day as el esposo‘s. That’s weird, right? And then sandwiched between our birthdays is Valentine’s Day. Of course we also celebrate George and Abe’s birthdays too with a day off from work and school. But the biggest celebration of all in the month of February has to be, Black History Month. That trumps all of our birthdays and celebrations.

Wait, are you surprised? Are you telling me that in your house Black History Month isn’t heralded as 28 days of fun and excitement? Of delight and wonder for the whole family? Maybe that’s because you’re not celebrating it properly. Or maybe because you’re not Black, you’ve always felt that Black History Month wasn’t for you or about you, so you just kind of let it pass you by. Well, not anymore. I’m going to give you some how-to tips so that you too can enjoy Black History Month like a pro, and then in subsequent years, you’ll look forward to February as much as I do.

So without further ado, here are: Five Tips to Help You Enjoy Black History Month

1. Read a book by a Black author! And I don’t mean a dry, historical tome with big words and too many pages that won’t fit in your purse. I mean a really good, juicy novel or heart wrenching memoir by a Black author that seems interesting to you. It could be a romance, a comedy, or even a thriller. It just cannot be written by Toni Morrison or Alice Walker. Are you stuck because you don’t know any other Black authors? Well, don’t despair, just click on over to my friend Carleen’s wonderful website where she recommends all types of books written by Black authors for your enjoyment. You will definitely find something you like. And if you’re too lazy to even do that, try reading one of my books. I’ve written three, non-fiction, memoir and fiction, and you can buy one at a bargain price just by clicking here. Done.

2. Go out to eat at restaurant that is owned by a Black person, or has a Black executive chef. Now, before you wrinkle your nose in distaste because you don’t like collard greens, fried chicken or chitterlings, let me tell you, Black chefs don’t just make soul food anymore. They have expanded their repertoire. If you live in the New York City area and you appreciate inspired Mediterranean food, you could eat at Amali, where the executive chef is Nilton Borges, Jr. He’s black. Or if you live in my new home town of Philly, you could check out Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Peruvian/Chinese restaurant, Chifa. Why? Because Chifa’s chef du cuisine, Chad Williams, is Black. So as you’re munching on grilled Spanish octopus or Peruvian ceviche you can say to yourself, ‘man, Black people really can throw down in the kitchen. I had no idea Black History month could be so tasty!’

3. See a movie with at least one significant Black leading character. But it can’t be Denzel’s new flick, cartoons don’t count because they’re not real, and Tyler Perry can not be involved. This may feel like a real challenge, but you can go to the video rental store, or search on Netflix for a good movie with Black characters in it. But just to stretch dear readers, you may not watch The Color Purple or Roots. We have moved on as a people. Want some suggestions? Check out Shadow and Act.

4. Just for kicks, try to imagine how Black people feel about current events. Try to get into our skin and see how things may be different. Not into role playing? Well then, for the month of February, just bookmark The Root.com and read the news as it is reported by Black reporters. If you want an alternative to The Root, visit, NBC’s The Grio.com. They have more video on their site for those of you who don’t like to read all that much.

5. And finally, this is the big challenge but you have a whole month to try to accomplish it. Try to find a Black friend. Really, make the effort to make friends with someone who is Black and see how your life changes. (spoiler alert: Having a Black friend probably won’t change your life in any obvious way.). If you live in a part of the world where there just aren’t very many Black people, well you can try to find a Black friend on Facebook. Heck, I’ll be your friend on Facebook. Just go out there and do the work to stretch beyond your comfort zone. Why? Because ultimately Black History month is not about going back into the past, it’s about celebrating the here and now. By celebrating the authors, chefs, musicians, politicians, teachers, moms and dads of color of today, we are acknowledging the ones that came before.

I say Black History Month should be lived in the present day, every day.

Happy Black History Month! What are you going to do celebrate?

Peace!

2 comments for “Black History Month: It’s Not Just for Black People Anymore

  1. Wendy
    5 February, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I finally got my hands on a copy of Ekomo. I didn’t buy it for Black History Month, per se. I bought it because its been on my wish list for the last year but has been either completely unavailable or cost $50+. I got a barely used copy for $25. I remember telling you about Ekomo by María Nsué Angüe. She is from Equatorial Guinea.
    Check out this abstract. Located here https://ida.mtholyoke.edu/xmlui/handle/10166/739 (I really need to learn out to use HTML)
    Ekomo by María Nsué Angüe has widely been considered the first post-independence novel of Equatorial Guinea by a woman. Scholars from three continents have tried to define this literary work linguistically, culturally, politically, structurally and thematically. Yet I maintain that the value of this piece lies not in its ability to fall into old conventions rather in its capacity to break with literary boundaries and fixed identities. The work does not preoccupy itself with affirming rigid identities rather it examines themes of colonization, patriarchy and ethnic identity in a hybrid fashion by focusing on the moments of encounters (Homi K. Bhabha s so-called liminal spaces) of competing identities. Demonstrating that identities do not exist in monolithic isolation rather in constant interactions, redefinitions and (re)creations. In Ekomo, I explore gender, ethnic, race, national and linguistic identity issues and aim to demonstrate that the book does not indoctrinate the reader with a particular and well-defined perspective on feminism, Equatoguinean identity and Africaness. Nor is it trapped in the Modern discourse of dialectic opposites introduced by Cartesian thought and promulgated through the binaries established by colonial discourses. Instead the author employs the text as a space to examine the intersection of borders and boundaries of various identities. The book s inquiry into identity and its rejection of rigid categories join seamlessly with emerging Post-colonial theory. The concept of connected histories developed by Sanjay Subrahmanyam is rearticulated in Gurmider Bhambra s Rethinking Modernity: Postcolonialism and the Sociological Imagination, in which Bhambra reexamines the phenomenon of European Modernity and concludes that Modernity is neither inherent nor exclusive to Europe. Using the novel s implicit inquisitive model and these explicit theories I will examine how this Equatoguinean work written and published in Spain by an exiled Equatoguinean female author can begin to put into question not only African hybrid identities but also can propose a post-colonial view of Spain as a hybrid Afro-Hispanic society and culture. Demonstrating that a European identity is not inherent in Spanish culture rather it is created through active processes of Europeanization and De-africanization. In conclusion I study the implications of this pluriversality in contemporary Spanish society that struggles with the racial and cultural anxiety brought on by an augmentation in African immigration.

    • Ms. Meltingpot
      6 February, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      Awesome, thanks Wendy!

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